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Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Kaneez Surka: People are not used to seeing women doing comedy in the public forum

Kaneez Surka on self-isolation time, being a woman in comedy and more.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi | Updated: April 22, 2020 8:29:16 pm
Kaneez Surka on stand-up comedy Kaneez Surka’s Netflix special Ladies Up is streaming on Netflix. (Photo: Kaneez Surka/Instagram)

Stand-up comedian Kaneez Surka recently went LIVE from The Indian ExpressFacebook page. During the session, Kaneez remarked the audience’s attitude is different towards women in comedy. She also talked about writing a web series during the lockdown.

Here are excerpts from the live session:

How are you coping with self-isolation?

Surprisingly, I love being by myself. I always thought I am more of an extrovert until this quarantine happened. I am thoroughly enjoying it. We all are going through a big change. None of us has ever been through anything like this. So, I think it will be exciting to see how we come out of this.

What have you been up to?

Tanmay Bhatt and I organised this streaming event called Stay Home For India to raise funds. We ended up raising over Rs 20 lakhs for COVID India and Kashtakari Panchayat. It is on Tanmay’s YouTube channel right now. We streamed for two days with 88 comedians on board. Every 30 mins, we would play a game with a different set of comedians. People came online and donated through different platforms. Glad we could do something valuable with the time.

Also, my Netflix special called Ladies Up has released. I enjoyed making the special. I am glad I did the show. I feel like I have more capabilities to do stand-up and I am only going to get better.

What’s the worst or the most discouraging thing you have been told for being a woman in comedy?

That women are not funny but that is not true. People are not just used to see women doing comedy in the public forum. People have to get used to it.

How does it feel to be known as one of the popular women comedians?

It feels nice that your work is being appreciated or acknowledged. The more people watch, the more I get to do. There is a lot of backlash. There are many who don’t appreciate what I do, which keeps me grounded and also, makes me push harder. The feeling comes and goes. Sometimes I feel like I am meant to be here and sometimes, I question myself when things don’t go right.

Is comedy still a male-dominated space?

Yes, there are more males who do comedy. Also, I feel the audience feels that they will get worth of their money and time if they watch a male comedian. It will take time for people to ignore gender and just look at how funny you are.

Have your jokes ever gone wrong?

It happens. I feel bad but someone always is going to be offended, especially because of the kind of content I do. So, I just need to grow thick skin.

Are you writing anything during this time?

I am writing a web series. Hopefully, I will be able to sell it. Apart from that, I am cooking.

What will you do after the lockdown?

I am going to order KFC! (laughs)

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